Hank wants to be just like Daddy
As Yankees captain Derek Jeter (and Mariano Rivera) enters the final year of his deal, many speculate on what the team will do about their impending free agent(s). Will they let him walk? Will they low-ball him like they did with Damon? Will he go to the Astros like Pettitte (and Clemens) did in ’04? Will they give him whatever he wants?
Well, now we might have a better idea of what the Yanks will do when Jeet reaches free agency. We can thank Hank for that:
“We’ll get into all of that eventually,” Hank Steinbrenner told AP on Thursday. “Jeter’s place in Yankee history is obvious, so I think you can pretty much assume from there.”
I’m going to assume that Jeter will get whatever he wants. If they don’t sign him, or low-ball him, the criticism would be ten times worse than when Joe Torre left. Not signing Jeter would be the biggest mistake the team has made in a long time.
Emotions aside, if I was forced to, maybe I can see them not offering a deal to Mo because he’s so much older than Jeter, he doesn’t play everyday, and they might figure he’ll just retire. But regardless, they need to make an effort; Rivera has been too important to that franchise for them to turn their back on him…then again I said the same thing about Bernie Williams. And we all know how that played out.
Captain, on the other hand, needs to be signed. First of all, I don’t think Ramiro Pena or Eduardo Nunez is ready to become the full-time shortstop. Second, he’s about 5 1/2 years younger than Mo, plays everyday, and still has a lot left in the tank (not that Mo doesn’t, but Rivera will be 41 as a free agent after the ’10 season).
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The bottom line is: You can’t let half the Old Guard leave and not expect a huge fan backlash and/or decline in team production. The Yanks better do whatever it takes to bring these two Yankees icons back…and do the same for Posada the following offseason.